Wednesday, February 15, 2006

When it rains, it really rains

Good Morning All! Ready for a fun ride with your host, Captain Weird O' Rama?
So, Monday night I'm heading home from the liquor store when I get stopped by one of Durham regions finest. I wasn't speeding or doing anything out of the ordinary, just the luck of the draw I guess. He came up behind me, ran my plates then pulled me over. Comes up to my window and informs me that my drivers license has been suspended since October 14th 2005 due to an unpaid traffic ticket. They don't send out notices any more, they just wait until they get you doing something wrong. Huh?
He issues me a notice telling me that my license has been suspended, then issues me a ticket for driving with no license. Tells me to leave my car where it is and drives me home. Never had a ride in the back of a squad car before. Kind of sparse back there. However he did put the window down so I could grab the handle and let myself out. Soooooooo, covertly, the missus and I sneak out, grab my car and get it home. That night we sat together and convinced each other that we paid a speeding ticket I got last June. We were CONVINCED it was paid.
Yesterday we drive to the Court House in Whitby, conveniently located less than 10 minutes from the palatial estate, where we have to pay for the original infraction before we can do anything else. It seems that I got a speeding ticket back in '03 on Weston Rd that was never paid. Okay (?!?) I paid that fine (it's good that I freed up room on my Meister Card; I needed it yesterday) $75.00. I pleaded "guilty", with an explanation. I then had to shift down three seats to talk to another clerk about seeing the justice of the peace, hereafter referred to as JOP, as I pleaded guilty with an explanation. I went through a door, sat in another waiting room, then went in to talk to the JOP. After my explanation, he was confused. "Welcome to my world, I said." He smiled.
JOP, thinking out loud, couldn't understand why I got a ticket for driving without a license instead of driving while under suspension. He said it was better for me as the ticket for DWL is about $250.00 while DWUS is worth about 10 times that. JOP then questioned how I was able to renew my plates twice without this fine showing up? JOP then said this was a very confusing issue, reduced the fine from $265 to $100 and advised me to "look into this." I then went back, paid the fine for driving without a license in order to renew my drivers license then went looking for the nearest MTO office. It cost me $150 to reinstate my license. I have to wait 2-3 days before the paperwork goes through (yes, I am driving illegally. the missus says if I'm pulled over again between now and Friday, act stupid. I can do that)
For those of you keeping track, that's $75 + $100 + $150. I am out $325.00 by now.
If this '03 fine was never paid, how was I able to renew my plates for 2 years running, lease a vehicle and then pay that lease off without this raising any issues? ANYTHING vehicle related, including plates, stickers and drivers licenses HAVE to go through the MTO, where they have a list of outstanding fines/offences that need to be dealt with before the transaction. Also, when I first got my Eclipse in November of '03, payments for fines outstanding were included in the purchase price of the car otherwise the deal couldn't have been made. Why wasn't this fine included in this? I know I had several parking tickets and I distinctly remember the outstanding fines paid to be somewhere in the $200 range.
So, I came in this morning driving illegally. I'm going to try and keep under the radar but that's kind of tough with a sports car. Fortunately it's a grey sports car (well, there is grey paint under the filth) and I will get my license back on Friday or Saturday.
Where's the Scotch?

Friday, February 10, 2006

Digressions Of Power

Lister, you're right, we're getting out of Dodge. I've never been a Chrysler fan anyhow.

As freaky as all of this life changing merde has been for me, I'm taking the high road and gradually getting my act together. Not gonna wallow in self-pity; instead I'll write my way out of trouble. Most blogs feature endless opinions, this one has only chronology, maybe like a series of public letters shared "entre amis".

Speaking of communication, it was announced recently (Jan. 27) that Western Union has discontinued the stalwart of early-to-mid-1900's communication, the telegram. It was fast and cheap in it's day, but has obviously been supplanted by a variety of more efficient electronic alternatives. I've personally never been on either the sending or receiving end of one, yet the telegram's passing is still noteworthy as a form of communication that served for over 150 years, dwindling from a high of 200 million sent in 1929 - "I've got a feeling those pumpkin futures should peak right around January - stop" to just 20 thousand in 2005 - "Good Lord - stop - Aren't you on broadband yet - stop". Anyhow, it's pure economics and just another sign of progress.

Life is about to change for the better, despite Kurt Vonnegut's insistence (in an article I can't find) that the human race has about five years left on the stopwatch, mainly due to our thirst for oil. I prefer beer, but how many books have I had published? Somewhat fewer than Kurt. I do recall trying to read Slaughterhouse Five during my prolonged adolescence with limited success, unless you consider snoring a victory. I digress, as usual...

Suffice it to say that I'm feeling temporarily better and even a tad optimistic. Anxiety is a cancer that has already nearly killed me once, I won't let it get a hold this time. To quote the eminent domestic philosopher Marge Simpson, "First I was nervous, then anxious, then wary, then apprehensive, then kinda sleepy, then worried, and then concerned." That sums up my natural tendencies in a nutshell. So I've got my work cut out for me, but I have help from my lovely/loving wife, who has been a mountain of support and kicked my ass right out of antipathy many times, usually only when I need it. Being able to treat myself to a Donald Fagen concert shortly after our arrival in a new city softens the blow somewhat. I have fang-section seats. For those who don't know, that's a good thing.

Weirdness Abounds

Apparently there is a wealth of change happening in the neighbourhood lately. The big D and his lovely and pregnant wife are getting outta Dodge. Me and the missus got outta Dodge and Mega-Drummer man is, well, way the hell up north. I moved out of a town that I've lived in for 29 years, leaving behind my elderly parents and familiarity that had grown contemptuous over the past little while. I watched my sleepy little town turn into a big, loud city with all of the traffic and urban chaos that goes with it. It was time for a change. My missus got transferred and *voom*; bye bye hometown!

Some people are comfortable in the city atmosphere. I have another good friend who lives in the middle of the city sprawl, perfectly happy with the lifestyle. You know who you are, Guido Japanese (pronounced Jah-pan-ay-say). Infrequent trips into the city sprawl show me both the benefits and the drawbacks of the city.
Alas, we all can't live in the country and small towns as they would then become cities and then people would have to move out of the small towns because there would be too many


Anyway, another small town beckoned. Going to another small town was our way of saying "Change is good, but not too much change." There is enough change that happens over the course of a lifetime that unless you like change, bringing more change on to yourself can be very stressful. Grasping at straws here. The house is bigger, needs very little work and is closer to where she works and where I work. There is enough of a change to make this very fresh, somewhat strange but even stranger, somewhat stimulating. I've written a few new songs and have thought about continuing on with one of the three novels that I've started and left to rot. I'm closer to one of my most favourite people in the whole world, "Speedy-Marie" the sister of greatness. Family is all around, within an hour at least.

Things are different. Things are good.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Game-time Decision

Wow - have things changed since I wrote that last bit of tripe a month or so ago. I've needed to update this thing for some time; to get this stuff off my chest, where it's been weighing quite heavily the last few days. My wife and have made the rather quick and unhappy decision to leave our business opportunity, (ie - quit our jobs), sell our house and move in (temporarily) with my wife's parents in the nation's capital, essentially putting our lives on hold for the time our baby is born, which is somewhere around the first week of May. I've also got to get some kind of work. We're liquid, baby...

This has been very distressing to me for a number of very obvious reasons - I'm not 20 anymore, I don't like change, and I hate asking people for help. It seems like an admission of failure. I have been trying to look at the upshot of the situation, but my mind and body keep letting me down.

On the positive side, it's good for my wife and our unborn baby to be near family. We've been pretty isolated living out here more or less in the country, and though I thought we'd never leave this house, I see now that it is a chance to become more connected to people. I tend to be a hermit by nature, and that's not great when you need to ask for help. Being an island doesn't work very well for me.

I won't bore anyone with details, but as most people know, moving house ranks right up there with divorce and death on the stress-o-meter. All things shall pass, says the Bible and George Harrison, and they're right. In a year, we'll be able to look back on this time and laugh. Whether it's from the living room of a new house or a straight jacket in a padded cell remains to be seen.

I will update soon...

The Eternal Fatalist